The early molecular events in the development of ovarian cancers are unknown, and there are no sensitive and specific screening tests for ovarian cancer. To address these issues, our multi-investigator and multi-institutional OCRF PPDG investigators have begun to develop animal models, strategies, and technologies to more precisely predict the early occurrence of ovarian cancers when the disease is surgically treatable. Our proposal includes three research projects and two cores. Project 1 is focused on the discovery of early protein biomarkers of serous ovarian cancers using a mouse model that recapitulates many of the steps that are observed in women with these cancers (Leader: Martin Matzuk; Co-Leader: Shannon Hawkins, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM)). Project 2 will define all of the proteins including variants that can be secreted from ovarian cancers and function as novel putative serum biomarkers (Leader: Laising Yen; Co-Leader: Matthew Anderson, BCM). Project 3 will use state-of-the-art equipment and technologies to identify the metabolic serum changes that occur when women develop ovarian cancer and evaluate the potential of this methodology to distinguish the different aggressive types of ovarian cancer (Leader: John McDonald; Co-Leaders: Facundo Fernández and Alexander Gray, Georgia Institute of Technology). In addition, our grant includes a Serum Core (Leader: Donna Coffey, The Methodist Hospital) and a Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core (Leader: Chad Creighton, BCM) that will support this research program. The goal of our team is to develop integrated screening assays based on mixed small molecule/protein biomarker panels for detecting and distinguishing ovarian cancers at early stages in their development.
Martin M. Matzuk, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Investigator, is the Stuart A. Wallace Chair and Professor of Pathology & Immunology and Associate Director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Matzuk earned his B.A. with Honors from the University of Chicago, his M.D. and Ph.D. from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, performed residency training in pathology at the University of Pennsylvania, is a board-certified Clinical Pathologist, and is Director of Clinical Chemistry at Ben Taub General Hospital. Dr. Matzuk has co-authored more than 280 articles, many of which are in top tier biomedical journals. He is Treasurer of the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR), has been an active reviewer for NIH and other governmental agencies, and served as Chair on the NIH CMIR study section. He has spoken at over 140 national and international symposia. He was the inaugural Ernst Knobil Lecturer at University of Pittsburgh, the inaugural Billie Fields Lecturer at the University of Illinois, and the Bruce Stewart Memorial Award Lecturer for the ASRM. His honors also include the Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Award from the Endocrine Society, the HypoCCS Award from Eli Lilly, the SSR Research Award, the Pfizer Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology, the Founders Award Lecturer for the Society for Reproductive Biology, the Royal College Lectureship from the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Roy O. Greep Award from The Endocrine Society, and a prestigious MERIT award from the NIH. Dr. Matzuk’s research focuses on deciphering the critical genes, proteins, and small RNAs that are involved in reproductive function and dysfunction including ovarian cancer. In the current OCRF Program Project Development grant, Dr. Matzuk has teamed up with investigators at Georgia Institute of Technology, The Methodist Hospital, and Baylor College of Medicine to identify early serum biomarkers and metabolic changes in women with ovarian cancer.